The new Sony RX100III may be the hit of the year!

The new Sony RX100III may be the hit of the year!

The new Sony RX100III was announced a couple of days ago and it looks like the best of the series to date, by far. The original RX100 was a killer camera that offered best in class IQ and speed and performance for a great price. The RX100 was a special camera, unlike any other at the time. The only issue with it was that there was not an EVF or viewfinder. The RX100II changed this by allowing the use of the Sony external EVF. They also added a backlit sensor for increased performance. Overall though, it was more of a refresh (which I am not a fan of) than a full-blown new camera.

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So now the RX100III is announced and it appears to be a stunner. What is super cool about this one is that Sony has added a POP UP EVF! Press a button and have an instant EVF of you want it. If you do not want it, keep it embedded in the body and used the LCD. Genius. They also kept the built-in flash that also hides in the camera when not in use. They also added a type of 3 Axis IS.

The camera looks the same, is still tiny and pocketable and has a Zeiss lens that will give you an f/1.8-2.8 aperture (a true 1.8 to 2.8 for light gathering) while zooming from 24-70 in 35mm equivalent terms. The sensor is a backlit 20.1 MP 1″ sized monster capable of ISO 12,800. It is said to have much better noise reduction techniques as well over the RX100II and I. The camera also has the Bionz X processor for fast operation and fast AF. The camera also has a built-in ND filter for those times you want to shoot in full sun while keeping the aperture wide open.

IMG_392241 IMG_392242The RX100 was a HUGE hit for Sony. A massive seller. The RX100II was a big hit, but not as huge as the RX100 I. The new RX100III may be the runaway hit of the summer for its small size, fast performance, stellar IQ and cool features. For me, having that pop up EVF nails it. With the RX100 II you needed the $500 external which made the cost of a nice RX100II system well over $1200! The new RX100III is $798 and if it performs as well as the other two will be well worth it. With that said, I have yet to handle one so I hope it does indeed live up to the reputation of the previous two RX100 offerings. But this one is all about take anywhere, front pocket, and quality. I will be reviewing this one, so stay tuned.

You can pre-order the RX100III at B&H Photo HERE or Amazon HERE. Price is $798.

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Details:

20.1MP 1″ Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor

The large 20.1 megapixel 1″ Exmor R CMOS sensor features backside-illuminated technology to enhance its low-light capabilities to a native ISO 12800 while still retaining vivid clarity. Using Sony’s Column A/D Conversion and area-specified noise reduction, images are rendered with impressive quality and smooth gradations between tones and colors due to the marked, intelligent reduction in apparent noise. Further enhancing imaging quality, detail reproduction technology works to increase the fine detail rendering capabilities for a more three-dimensional, realistic image quality while diffraction-reducing technology helps to enhance the optical qualities of the lens by suppressing diffraction that is common when working at smaller apertures. Additionally, aiding working in difficult lighting conditions, the sensitivity can be extended to an effective ISO 25600 when using Multi-Frame NR, which records and composites sequential images in order to attain high sensitivity with minimal noise.

Also benefitting the image quality, as well as overall camera performance, is the BIONZ X image processor, which provides continuous shooting up to 10 fps in Speed Priority Mode, 2.9 fps shooting with single-shot AF, a shutter lag time of just 0.008 sec., and a start-up time of 1.6 sec.

Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens

The built-in Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-70mm, covering wide-angle to portrait length perspectives to suit working in a wide variety of shooting conditions. An f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture benefits working in difficult lighting conditions throughout the entire zoom range and also enables greater control over focus placement for shallow depth of field imagery, which is further accentuated by a seven-blade diaphragm to produce a smooth out-of-focus quality. Nine aspherical elements, including two cemented AA (advanced aspherical) elements, are incorporated into the lens design to minimize chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range to benefit creating sharp, clear imagery. The lens also features a Zeiss T* anti-reflective multi-layered coating to help minimize lens flare and ghosting in order to produce imagery with rich contrast and color neutrality.

Benefitting the 2.9x reach of this lens, as well as supporting working in difficult lighting conditions and with longer shutter speeds, is Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps to offset the effects of camera shake. When recording movies, the image stabilization utilizes an Intelligent Active Mode, which also uses electronic image stabilization to compensate for both camera shake and rolling shutter effects.

Additionally, a neutral density 0.9 filter is incorporated into the camera’s design, which provides a reduction of three stops in exposure to enable working in bright conditions with wider aperture settings and for greater control over how subject movement is rendered.

Camera Design

Within the compact design of the RX100 III is both a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a large rear LCD monitor. The 0.39″ 1,440k-dot SVGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF provides a bright, clear means for eye-level monitoring, which is well-suited to critical compositions and working in bright conditions. It features 100% frame coverage, a unique pop-up mechanism, and a Zeiss T* coating on the optics to reduce surface reflections and flare for enhanced visibility. Alternatively, a 3.0″ 1,229k-dot Xtra Fine LCD screen is also available and features a tilting design (180° up, 45° down) to benefit working from high, low, and front-facing angles. WhiteMagic technology has been applied to the LCD’s design, too, to increase effective brightness for easier viewing in bright lighting. When working with both viewing means, an integrated eye sensor automatically switches between both the EVF and LCD. Additionally, the camera can be turned on simply by popping the EVF into place.

For intuitive, SLR-like adjustments over a variety of camera settings, a manual control ring surrounds the lens and features a smooth, click-less design for quick and quiet changing of settings. The ring can be assigned to control a variety of features, at different values, such as zoom, aperture, and Picture Effects. A step-zoom feature can be utilized, too, to allow instant switching between commonly used focal lengths.

Full HD Video Recording

Full HD 1920 x 1080 movies can be recorded in the high-quality XAVC S format, which uses a Long GOP (Group of Pictures) structure, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression, and linear PCM audio compression, and saves within the MP4 container format. These compressed files permit recording times up to 29 minutes while allowing 50 Mbps video recording at 1080/60p, 1080/30p, 1080/24p, and 720/120p frame rates. Full-pixel readout helps to minimize any artifacts in recordings due to the ability to utilize data from the entire image sensor, which ultimately results in smooth, high-resolution recordings. Movies can also be recorded in the AVCHD format, which is ideal for HDTV playback and Blu-ray disc burning, and the MP4 format, which is ideal for uploading online. Additionally, when shooting for two purposes in mind, dual recording is possible in different formats-XAVC S and MP4 or AVCHD and MP4-for the ability to instantly share footage while also having a higher quality version for subsequent editing.

Benefitting advanced video applications, the RX100 III also supports clean HDMI output for recording uncompressed video via an optional external recorder and for real-time viewing on an accessory monitor. Recording frame rates include 24p, 60p, and 60i, and the shooting info display can be turned off during recording for a cleaner view when utilizing an external monitor.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant transferring of imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices, with no complex set-up required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and, using Smart Remote Control, remotely control the camera’s shutter release.

Additionally, PlayMemories Camera Apps are also supported via the built-in Wi-Fi connection, and allow you to personalize the camera’s features depending on specific shooting styles. Apps are available to suit creating portraits, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot, and other specific types of imagery.

Other Camera Features

A contrast-detection autofocus system works to acquire precise focus using single-shot or continuous AF modes. When working with moving subjects, Lock-on AF, with wide, center, and flexible spots, adjusts the target frame size as the subject moves throughout the image frame. Face detection and face registration technologies can be used to base focus on recognized faces and Eye AF is also available, which is a detail-oriented focusing function that prioritizes and dedicates focusing performance on a subject’s pupil for sharply-rendered portraits.

For manual focus control, DMF (Direct Manual Focus) and standard manual focus options are available. Benefitting precise manual focus, focus peaking can be used, which highlights edges of contrast within the frame for a more objective means of determining critical sharpness, or MF Assist is available, which enlarges the image for a better view of important details.

A zebra function can be used for easier detection of exposure clipping to prevent overexposure.

A dedicated Custom button permits assigning of one of 42 possible functions for instant, one-touch access to a chosen control.

A digital level gauge detects pitch and roll types of movement and helps to produce even, consistent horizons and plumb verticals.

Smile Shutter technology enables the camera to automatically release the shutter when a subject’s smile is detected

Multi Frame NR records consecutive images at a reduced ISO sensitivity and then composites them into a single image to realize higher effective sensitivity (up to an equivalent ISO 25600) with minimal image noise. Standard image compositing is comprised of four exposures and High image compositing utilizes 12 distinct exposures.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) works to improve images featuring backlit subjects or scenes with high contrast where details can be lost in the shadows or highlights. This mode can be controlled automatically or fine-tuned using five settings.
Picture Effect modes allow you to apply creative settings and emphasize certain facets of individual images for a richer, more aesthetic picture quality. Posterization (Color/B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration modes are available.

Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia, and Style Box. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.

To extend the effective reach of the optical zoom lens, Clear Image digital zoom can be used to intelligently magnify scenes up to 5.8x at full-resolution. This digital zoom technology uses an intelligent interpolation process to minimize the amount of image degradation in order to produce realistic, high-quality images.

In-camera creation of 4K slide shows is possible for rich playback to ultra high definition televisions. An HDMI port is incorporated into the camera’s design, too, to enable direct connection to HDTVs.
TRILUMINOS Color support is supported to produce rich, natural colors when imagery is viewed on a TRILUMINOS Display.

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105 Comments

  1. Yesterday I tried the RX100 III and really liked it, however I did encounter an unexpected issue. I wear glasses and noticed that my glasses lens often bumped into the pop up viewfinder; it retracted ever so slightly which caused image to go out of focus. Hmm …

  2. RX100 III must be ready to ship. I pre-ordered (from this site) and my credit card was charged today, and they don’t do that until being shipped. One note on my previous comment on the MKIII: I was mistaken, it appears, to be excited about IS–it’s the same old Sony ‘image stabilization’ for still photos. The only enhance IS is for video, which I don’t use. Still, MKIII will be a big improvement over MKI which I had (sold recently to beat the rush!).

  3. Pro Camera?
    What exactly is a Pro camera?its any camera in the hands of a skilled photographer.I have seen thousands of miserable photos taken on Leicas
    and thousands of beautiful photos taken on Canon sureshots,the quality of
    the image is wearing your shoes.

  4. A toy? Well it’s not a “pro” camera but it’s not a toy either. Think of it is a P&S for the pro crowd who does not want to bring their pro equipment along for the day. I have taken my rx100m2 to New York and California numerous times just by sliding it into my back pocket. It beats any phone, any other P&S, and I never know it’s there other than when I take it out of my pocket to use it. I get awesome shots with it that I probably wouldn’t even bother taking if I had been lugging my dslr around. This new mark 3 with it’s evf and f1.8-2.8 lens looks like a nice upgrade. I’m not sure if I will upgrade mine or not, but I am seriously tempted to!

    • Trolling? On a photography enthusiast web site? Mr. Huff posted some absolutely fabulous shots for the Nikon 1 series, a balloon firing at night comes to mind. That alone is enough for me to say the sensor size is almost irrelevant in today’s world. I have to assume you are being witty.

    • It’s a P&S ….how big a sensor do you expect? As far as ‘toy’ P&S cameras go…this one looks to be the best.

    • @JR:

      I think you are off. It is an amazingly capable camera in a small package, for situation or users requiring a physically small camera.

      The pop-up finder is the icing of the cake.

      I like the idea behind this camera, and the IQ of pictures taken with the earlier models. This one should improve results further.

      I am proud owner and user of two full frame cameras, and I steadfsly announce that the RX100 family, including the recent model described here, are no toys…

  5. DO ME A FAVOR, CAN WE PUT THIS WHOLE DISCUSSION OF PIXEL SIZES, SENSOR SIZES, ET AL TO REST ALREADY. IT’S RUINING THIS BOARD AND BECOMING A COMPLETE BORE!!! IT’S NOT WHAT YOUR READERS SIGNED UP FOR.

    • Wow, this discussion has been dead for a couple days now outside of my questions. You don’t bother to answer but you scream about pixel sizes etc. I don’t think they mentioned pixel size once. Sensor size in relation to f stop and light area yes. I might have forgot though it was late at night when I read through this thread. Any way take it from a fellow Steve to a Steve on a site run by Steve. Take a breath relax. The sun will still come up tomorrow 🙂

  6. I have a MKI. Is the sensor going to be that big of an upgrade? We are going to Disney in September and I was going to leave the NEX 5N at home and just bring the RX100. Now I am really thinking this would be a very useful upgrade with the image stabilization, wider aperture, nd filter, and pop up viewfinder. All of these are things I have noticed on the MK I and in the bright Florida sun I think the nd filter and viewfinder will make a big big difference. I also like the idea of the tiltable lcd with the extra white pixel, it should help with quick arm length shots of all of us without having to worry about strangers dropping or stealing the camera. So I have talked myself into it the only question is what is a MKI worth with under 2500 snaps on it? And really to those of you who have had the MKI and MKII. Is the sensors low light ability a worthy jump?

      • I would agree about the lens. I have the MK1. I am an available light shooter. At the wide end, it’s fine, but I’m always frustrated by it at the longer end. Mark3 solves that. The evf also interests me a great deal. Other than that MK1 is fantastic. And you’d STILL be happy with your Mark1 at Disney. I shot nothing but iPhone5 for our recent Disney trip. Seriously. Left the Sony in the drawer and my Canon 6D at home. You know what? I had a lot of FUN at Disney, and “lived” the moment rather than trying to take pictures of the moment in order to “look back” at the moment later. And I got enough representative shots with the iphone to satisfy me. Some beauts. Wish I would’ve used the Sony some, but then again, maybe I would’ve enjoyed the rides less. Are you going to Disney to take pictures or to enjoy rides with your family?

        • Thanks for the response:) We bought the “memory maker” package so I won’t get taken out of it to much. My note three takes fantastic daylight pictures for what it is but I do want a little more. They say the French Quarter resort is very picturesque, we shall see!

  7. I had the original RX100 and that camera got the most use out of any camera I ever had. It was with me every single day.

    • needless to say that I will be keeping an eye on this one. Sony did me right with the first one.

  8. Hi Steve, this looks very promising and I’m sure it’ll be a huge hit. I want one and will eagerly await your review! I need your help as I’m really confused after watching a video by Tony Northrup re cropped sensors and marketed focal lengths and apertures. If I’m not mistaken, Tony claims that you must multiply the focal length and aperture by the crop factor to get a true comparison versus the standard FF or 35mm. I notice that Sony are marketing the focal length as a 24-70 35mm equivalent, so it seems Sony have taken this advice as it states it’s a 8.8 – 25.7. But according to Tonys video the aperture would also then be a 4.8-7.5 35mm equivalent as the Sony has a 2.7x crop factor. For me it doesn’t matter so long as I can get the shots I need and enjoy the camera, and I’ll probably end up buying this anyway. What’s your view on this Steve? Does it even matter? Cheers, David.

    • David,

      This issue has already been the subject of discussion in earlier posts here. If you’ve not read them, may I suggest you take a peek. Post numbers 3 and 6 are relevant.

      But I’ve had time to ponder, and I trust this is more readily understandable.

      1. Pay no attention whatsoever to any comments that say that a manufacturer’s stated f number is not what it says it is. Manufacturers do NOT lie about this. The aperture is a function of the laws of optics and is a constant irrespective of focal length.

      2. The practical application of apertures is two-fold: consistency of exposure over a range of lens focal lengths, and its impact on depth of field using lenses of differing focal lengths. This is also a non-variable law of optics. Ignore anything you read or hear about this being an equivalence of something else. This is the bit that is confusing everyone, other than its misguided proponents. Funny, it didn’t make an appearance in the annals of (digital) photography until “bokeh” became a mystical component of a lens’ performance and those seeking infinitesimal depth of field in their images.

      Unless your photographic interests solely revolve around getting very shallow DoF, and you want to know which particular camera/lens combo gives this to you, you can safely ignore everything you read about equivalence as it relates to apertures, too. Just know that a 50mm f1.4, for example, will give you exactly the same control over DoF whether it is used on a FF sensor or m4/3. But the FoV will change due to different sensor sizes.

      One thing you can’t get around is the fact that the smaller the sensor, the more problematic it becomes in obtaining shallow depth of field. SIMPLY BECAUSE if one wishes to maintain the equivalent field of view on the smaller sensor one needs to use lenses of shorter focal length, and the shorter the focal length of a lens, the wider will be its depth of field, other things being equal.

      3. Equivalency, when it only relates to focal length, came about in the early days of widespread adoption of digital cameras and was needed to explain the myriad of different TRUE focal lengths that manufacturers were using on their digital cameras. What did these much shorter, and varying, focal lengths actually mean for image taking, when at the same time digital cameras were using different sensor sizes? Short of actually handling a camera at your local photographic dealer (remember them?) there was no way of knowing, or comparing on paper, just how much or little of the subject the camera actually captured.

      Have a look at these:

      a) 4.45 – 44.5
      b) 5.1 -12.80
      c) 7.0 – 21
      d) 7.1 – 35.6
      e) 14.3 – 71.5
      f) 18.0 – 55.00

      Apart from (f) which is the actual focal length of the ubiquitous kit lens for APS-C cameras, I bet the rest will be completely meaningless. They are the actual focal lengths, in mm, of digital cameras I own as quoted by the manufacturers ON the lenses. However, there is an array of different sensor sizes used.

      35mm film was widely in use, and the vast majority of users would be aware of the impact lenses of different focal lengths would have. Even users of fixed lens cameras, would have some idea, even if it was only of 45/50mm focal length. So, as a standard reference point it makes sense to follow 35mm film practice and it can make sense of the above lens and sensor data combinations, and this is what we get:

      a) 25mm, b) 24mm and e) 24mm. How can a) Sony W690 and b) Lumix LX3, be virtually the same as e)? Well, whilst e) has a lens around 3x the actual focal length, it services the much larger APS-C sensor in my Sony R1.

      And without the equivalence comparison who would know that c) is 35mm (Canon G2) and d) is 28mm (Olympus WA 8080)?

      One final point which I’d like to put to bed. And this is the nonsense written about the total amount of light that sensors of different sizes are exposed to. As if sensor size was important in this context. NO it isn’t. Anyone shocked by this statement? Many will be. It is NOT the size of the sensor that is important at all. Irrespective of the sensor size, each will receive the same level of overall illumination, providing all other things are equal. Refer back to my final post at 3. It is the size of the PIXELS that matter.

      A pixel is a photovoltaic device in that it converts light energy into an electric current. The larger the pixel, the more photons it captures and hence a higher current output from the pixel. So larger pixels are better than smaller ones. It doesn’t come as a surprise as this has been known for years and yet, despite this, more and more pixels were being crammed into tiny sensors with the inevitable result of really poor noise performance as the amplifiers in digital camera processors tried to boost what wasn’t there. Just look how much interest the forthcoming Sony A7s is garnering with just 12 megapixels on a FF sensor.

      (There is a good analogy here. The performance of professional reel to reel tape recorders compared to that of compact cassette machines. They both use tape, but there are more magnetic particles per given area of the R/R tape so the signal to noise ratio is superior.)

      Apologies, guys, a lot to read. But I hope it has been helpful.

      • TerryB, it is your last point re pixel size which has to date put me off the RX100 series. I would rather have a more modest 12-16 megapixels and improved low light (high ISO) performance. It’s not very clear why Sony feel the need to provide 20MP – particularly with a good “standard ” zoom range avoiding the need for excessive cropping.

        • Matt,

          From what I’ve read, the sensor is larger and is a BSI version to boot, so Sony’s “compromise” may not be a bad one. But it depends, of course, on what level of IQ v noise you are seeking. It will be interesting to see how it performs.

  9. Just pre-ordered it. I have the RX1 for full frame super high definition, low light, high dynamic range, and the RX100 version 1. I’ll give the RX100-1 to my son. I really need a camera with IS and small size. The pop-up EVF is a real plus. I was beginning to lose patience with Sony because of lack of IS. The RX1 fits in a small fanny pack (lens pointed up), but it still is not with me every day. Purchased it pre-order from this site is small payment for the wonderful, informative site.

    • That’s actually an innovative feature for sure, but think it through. Why does it need to pop up? Some cameras have EVF’s that can be used without the need to “pop up”…

      • Because the camera would either need to be longer by the width of the VF, taller by the height of the VF, or always have a wart on top.

      • Because it makes the camera smaller? Other cameras have interchangeable lenses and bigger sensors too. The EVF sits behind the LCD, to make it not pop up means the camera has to be bigger, simple as that.

      • It has to pop-up because the backside is covered by the big LCD screen. I dont want an 1/2 inch smaller lcd just to create space for a viewer.

        • That’s a sensible reply. But what do you need the lcd (in whatever size) for if you’ve got a good evf?

  10. Hello, can anyone tell me if the RX100 II’s hot shoe can operate a Canon 580 EX II speedlight with TTL? Or will it work on manual only? That’s probably the only deciding factor between the MKII and MK III, for me at least. Thanks

    • TTL sync with no data transmission other than light from a pop-up flash ? if that should be possible i would be impressed.

  11. It’s also said that the image stabilization is the same techno as in the OMD from olympus. The 5-axis one.
    If true, then indeed it is a killer cam. Just lack a touch screen and it would be perfect.

    • If the IS is the same as or equal to the Olympus 5 axis that would be a fabulous feature. The IS on the Oly is absolutely fantastic!

      • That’s because it DOES NOT have 5-axis IS. End of story. It has optical IS and adds electronic in video only (which many other Sony’s do including the RX10. It does not use sensor shift IS in any way, shape or form.

        • All I know is what it says on the Olympus website for the EM5 – quote follows

          “IS SYSTEM

          Built-in (Image sensor shift type for movie & still, 5-axis* image stabilization)

          * yaw/pitch/vertical shift/horizontal shift/rolling”

          Also, in actual practice it is wonderful.

  12. Fabulous! The Mark II should be all over the place at “fire sale” prices real soon!

    • It’s my understanding that Sony will keep the M1 and Mk2 for sale along with the Mk3. Different needs/uses for each body. That said, the Mk1 and Mk2 were being blown out on eBay a few weeks ago. I scored a new Mk1 for 1/2 of list price. I love it, but seriously missed an EVF and have already pre-ordered a Mk3.

    • David,

      Please give me the nod where and when. lol. Oh, and before the fire brigade arrives as I don’t want a wet one. :o)

  13. This is a no-brainer buy for me. Have loved the RX100 since new, and the Mk III appears to have some very useful upgrades.

  14. Sorry, one look at the hand holding that camera and it’s clear that it was designed for children to use or people with very very small hands. Looks like a great camera, though. But how can all the manufactures continue to expect us to buy a new, slightly better replacement camera for $500-$1200 year after year after year? This must be about to come to a crashing halt, no? [I do like the hidden EVF though; wish mine had one.]

    • You don’t have to buy anything. If you are happy with what you have then continue to use it. Are companies supposed to just stop developing and improving their products?

      • No kidding!
        It’s not like these camera companies send out some kind of virus that disables all previous versions of the camera. You bought the camera originally because it was good – and it still is.

  15. It looks promising, but I want to see more sample images from this thing before I decide to buy.

  16. That pop up EVF is very smart. I am kind of surprised that nobody had done that before! Lately Sony has been doing really clever things!

  17. I used it yesterday at the Los Angeles Camera Show at the Convention Summer and it performs as well as its specs indicate. I’m a long-time user of the original RX100 and the combination of the viewfinder (which is terrific) and the wider aperture lens at 70mm makes it an-around better camera. I have mine on order through B&H. By the way, you can bounce the flash, just the way you can do it on the RX100. The only thing you have to remember is when you raise the viewfinder (which turns the camera on — VERY SMART) you have to remember to slide the viewfinder backwards about ⅛” or the camera won’t operate. I’m sure by the end of about 50 times raising the viewfinder this will become completely automatic and you won’t even think about doing it!

    • Nice to know about the flash! I’ve been wondering if you could still flip it back to bounce. Thanks!

  18. Coming hot on the heels of the Leica T, this could be a game changer where for the (most part) the T really isn’t. Fully kitted out with its standard fare zoom range lens and slow speed + EVF, the T we know will set intending purchasers back over $4,000, 5x as much as the Sony at $800!

    OK, it doesn’t offer interchangeable lenses as does the T, a useful feature for some, nor does it come with a hand-polished aluminium body, but it does have a far better spec. The lens has a more useful 24mm equivalent wide angle setting, is a LOT faster throughout its range, being a full 2 stops faster at its telephoto setting, nothing to sneeze at, and a built in EVF, and tiltable rear screen..

    It loses out on having a smaller sensor, so a comparison of IQ is going to be really interesting, and I’d guess that the T will pip it to the post, but will this be $3,200 worth of extra IQ, for MOST of the types of images we may see purchasers using these cameras for?

    I know comparisons on spec alone can be futile when IQ is more important. But it will be interesting to see how this fares against the T.

    I’ve been waiting for two years for Panasonic to update the LX7, but now it looks like I shall be adding this little beauty to my growing Sony camera list. (R1, Nex 5N, A7)

    • Well, the T will have much better IQ. The RX100 is amazing for what it is but it does not beat APS-C cameras with good lenses for IQ. The RX100 III is a fantastic pocket and travel cam, but it is not a serious IQ tool for those who want the best IQ. This has a 1″ sensor…MUCH MUCH smaller than APS-C. Also, build is not even close to the T. Different systems, different uses. With that said, the RX100III will be amazing and will be all most would need.

    • “I’ve been waiting for two years for Panasonic to update the LX7, but now it looks like I shall be adding this little beauty to my growing Sony camera list. (R1, Nex 5N, A7)”

      Didn’t the LX7 just come out like last summer?

      • Hi, Ronin. No it didn’t. I can’t now find a reference to its actual release date but there are reviews of it in early July 2012. Not exactly two years ago, I admit, but pretty close. I bit of licence on my part.

    • For depth of field, yes. For light gathering, no. It is a true 1.8-2.8 lens when it comes to light gathering and low light use. So many are misinformed about this fact.

      • Yeah but Steve I think you are missing the ISO performance due to sensor size when factoring in the equivalency. ISO equivalency must be taken into account to measure total equivalency. Two images are not equivalent until their depth, shutter, and grain (equivalent ISO) all match.

        So a shot with the RX100 at f/1.8 ISO 100, will be equal to the light gathered by a full frame camera at f/4.9 at ISO 800.

        Sure, 1.8 apertures means you can keep your ISO lower on a smaller sensor camera, but the equivalent image on full frame will be achieved by using a higher ISO and stopping down.

        It’s still 1.8 for light gathering though as you mentioned. It’s very valuable to have fast glass for smaller sensors that struggle for low light compared to larger sensor cameras. Fast apertures mean you can use faster shutter speeds and lower ISO’s which can’t be overlooked in trying to keep the ISO down.

        But the total light gathered is a combination of the aperture AND the sensor size.

        A full frame camera shot at f/1.4 and ISO 800, will have the same grain, depth, and shutter speed as a CX camera shot at f/.5 and ISO 100. This type of lens doesn’t exist, so when it comes to low light shooting, the bigger sensor fast lens combo will always win.

        • Sensor size does not affect light transmission for a given aperture ratio. (The quality of the glass surfaces, maybe to a very slight extent might disperse a small percentage of the light)

          2.8 is 2.8. There is no difference in the size of the light sensitive area.

          A shot from the RX100 at1.8 and ISO 800 will receive the same exposure (eg, light hitting photo sensitive surface) as a D800 at 1.8 and ISO 800.

        • Your comparison is right LJ, even though not everybody understands that.
          But is not a fake by Sony. They sell a crop sensor camera and of course they refer to that sensor size. What is most important to people is that they get higher shutter speeds at low light with a fast lens, so people will have that 1.8 option even though with the typical noise of a crop sensor camera. But we are not talking about image quality here, are we ? Nobody is thinking that this camera is as good as say a A7 or any other modern full frame camera…

        • Also, how many new photographers start out with full frame? Yes, in the analogue days we all used 35mm. But in the digital age, people start out with APS-C and may never even move up to full frame. What I’m trying to say is, what does DOF full frame equivalent even mean to most people if they don’t know what it looks like? I find these full frame shouters really strange. And it’s also tiring.

          • Timmy,

            I accept what you say when it relates to new photographers who have no conception of 35mm film photography and what the relationship is between 35mm camera lenses of various focal lengths. But, I have to follow this with a “but”, and it is this. There has to be a reference point, and for the time being there is nothing better than equating the actual focal lengths used on all digital cameras with such a plethora of different sensor sizes and which leads to a confusing difference as to what a specific camera actual captures, to their 35mm equivalent.

            Even without a knowledge of what the figures actually mean in FF and 35mm photography, it is relatively easy to apply the concept in deciding what digital camera to choose. Want a camera with better wide angle capability, or at the tele end is easy. All one needs to know to do a useful comparison is to know that the smaller the equivalent number the wider the angle the digital camera will capture, and conversely the higher the number, the more suited to telephotography it will be.

            Without this reference point, the digital camera/lens combinations are nothing but a minefield for the unwary.

          • True. I’m just saying that there’s no need for some people to comment on any digital camera with: “But it’s only a … FF equivalent!”

            I mean, people get and accept that smaller sensor sizes like APS-C give less DOF control vs FF on the same FOV. What I do see is that many people still choose FOV as their criterium for lenses, even on small sensors like MicroFourThirds. So if people like the 50mm FF FOV, they choose 25mm on MicroFourThirds. And you can shout: “But it’s only a 50mm F3.6 on full frame!” But DOF is simply not the only criterium. And on small cameras like RX100 even less.

            Making comparisons is fine, but it’s become a shouting contest for some people. It’s like they (FF proponents) don’t understand why you would spend money on small sensor cameras when a little more money can get you full frame; they see absolutely no value in it. It’s very strange.

          • Timmy,

            I understand from where you are coming.

            If there is one thing that is guaranteed to be confusing, is this silly argument of effective depth of field when comparing lenses of different focal lengths, but used with differing sensor sizes. And this has led to some open discussion here.

            When I was a regular film user and using 35mm, 6×6 and 5×4 there was never any such discussion. One simply knew the practicalities associated with each format. No obfuscating arguments trying to equate lenses used on my 35mm cameras, for example, and those on my 5×4.

      • I think people always jump on this because light-gathering ability isn’t as important as it used to be due to the ISO capabilities of new cameras. Back in the day, people saw a 1.4 lens as a low-light lens. Now people think of it as a bokeh lens.

        Bresson, Capa, Eisenstaedt, and even McCurry made amazing portraits without relying on shallow DOF. Instead they actually made interesting photos.

  19. Tinger, look at it like a man. You have two options.

    1 Keep spending/burning money. Don’t worry, the next best thing is waiting for you just around the corner, and it will be reviewed here.

    2 Use, learn and enjoy what you have. The acquisition decision you made not so long ago won’t let you down.

    • Michiel,

      I must have one! And I can justify the purchase, too. I’ve been waiting for an update to Panasonic’s LX7 ( I have the much earlier LX3 ) and this little baby could be it.

      Did I say I could justify the purchase? Yes I did.

      • TerryB, your logic beats my reasoning by a country mile. Me, I’m só looking forward to the mid-lifecycle update to my D800, which will solve all my problems and finally allow me to make those great images helplessly floating around in my head…

        • Hi, Michiel. I doubt logic had anything to do with it, not if you were to see some of my past purchases, lol, but it is a rare consensus ad idem between my heart and head.

          But, it does lack one very useful feature of the LX range and that is the ability to maintain the same effective focal length irrespective of the frame size selected, whether this be 1:1, 3:2, 4:3 or 16:9.

          • “Frame size”? You’ve lost me now Terry. I’m too old to wander from the 24/36 format… Even square is too daring for me!

          • Michiel, I believe you may be pulling my leg. But just in case you’re not, the LX range uses an oversized sensor such that each of the four frame sizes will fit within the imaging circle and still give the same lens focal length. So the same, say 24mm equivalent setting will give the 24mm FoV for each frame size across the diagonal, and with little loss of pixel count in doing so.

            Normally, using 4/3rds sensors, for example, if one needs a 3:2 or 16:9 FoV the sensor will be cropped to get this, so the lens exhibits a slightly longer equivalent focal length and not its indicated setting.

            In geometric terms it may be easier to see what is happening. Draw a circle, then you will find that you can fit within it and with each of the four corners touching the circumference, anything from a square to oblongs of various side lengths. But importantly, the diagonal of all of these will, of course, always be the diameter of the circle. Thus the angle of view of the lens remains the same for any of the selectable frame sizes.

          • You’re really trying me out here Terry. Yes yes, I could have thought of all that. Image circle and all the possibilties there. But I’m too old to visualize beyond the 3:2 format, and I can’t think of a good reason why I should. My printer screws it up anyway. Don’t talk to him; he’s a very destructive man.

    • +1 for #2. I have the original RX100 and it’s a fantastic camera that I plan on keeping indefinitely at this point. Tinger, don’t let this website control your buying decisions. Gear is good, but vision is better, go out and practice photography.

  20. I had a v2 but didn’t care for some focus problems where in auto mode it often chose the wrong shutter speed and I’d later discover a bunch of blurry pics. I liked the idea of using this point and shoot type camera in auto mode and just snap away but this one thing turned me off to the camera. Maybe
    vs will be better. I love my new omd now so no looking back for me. I’ll probably stick with olympus after this experience.

  21. Reading this site just makes me crazy. I own the RX100ii based on this site plus a trial use from a friend, but the iii looks to me to be the best one yet. 2.8 through 70mm equivalent would just be amazing PLUS even better low light performance from the sensor. Why can’t these things take LONGER to come out :^)

    • it is NOT gonna be F2.8 at 70mm equivalent! Sensor crop of this camera is about 2.72x.
      8.8-25.7mm F1.8-2.8 with 2.72 sensor crop gives you 24-70mm F4.9-7.6!

      • Yes it is 2.8 at 70mm. It is an f/2.8 for light gathering at 70mm. The only difference where this comes into play is depth of field, NOT for light gathering or low light use. Fast lenses were originally made to be able too use in lower light, and this camera has a true 1.8-2.8 lens for this purpose.

        • Oy vey, how many times will you have to explain this to people? I guess as long as you have your site.

        • Tony Northrup just screwed the concepts recently. I guess a lot of people have gotten confused about it.

          • Uli,

            I haven’t the foggiest notion who Tony Northrup is, but I’ve just spent over half an hour watching his video on ISO, crop factor and sensor size. And I have to say I agree. His video is embarrassing for his muddled thinking and certainly obfuscates matters when they don’t need to be, imo.

            Experienced photographers know that f1.8 is f1.8 and is so irrespective of focal length and is independent of sensor size. He tries to convince everyone that a Panasonic zoom lens that is advertised with an aperture of f2.8 is in fact an f5.6 and to do this he does the simple math of dividing the actual aperture diameter of Panasonic’s lens at it’s 35mm setting, which has a true focal length of 12-35mm, into the EQUIVALENT focal length at the tele setting of 70mm as though it were a genuine 70mm and, heigh ho, he gets f5.6. The lens is an f2.8 at an actual 35mm, not an actual 70mm

            And again, with sensor noise, his thinking is muddled. He argues that small sensors aren’t inherently less noisy than their larger brethren. But to “prove” this, the playing field is not even in his examples. How? Because he uses different ISO settings. What he ends up with is clear, however, in that he demonstrates that for a more or less equivalent noise floor, using high ISO’s on a FF sensor, and much lower the smaller the sensor he shows the noise to be roughly the same. In other words small sensors work at their best at low ISO setting and can’t compete with larger sensors at the higher ISO settings.. But I believe most intuitively knew this anyway.

            So, say ISO 800 for a FF sensor, ISO 360 for 1.6 Canon APS crop, and ISO 200 for M4/3 and, other things being equal, they do roughly show about the same level of noise. But make the playing field even, and expose them all at the same high ISO and then try and argue small sensors aren’t as noisy.

            Taking a specific set of circumstances simply to prove a point, as he does with sensor noise, is not good science.

            I’m more with him with DoF, but that is only because what he is trying to say is already in the public domain. Depth of field is greater for any given aperture/focus distance the shorter the focal length of the lens used. Smaller sensors need shorter focal length lenses to give an equivalent FoV than their larger sensor brethren, so naturally they exhibit wider DoF. So what is new?

            Surprisingly, he does raise a valid point about ISO as it relates to film and a digital sensor. But his presentation of this is muddled and for me to explain film ISO standard properly, would require a chapter all to itself.

            Steve,

            I trust this is not too long for you to allow to be posted. I only hope in posting I’ve not befuddled more people. :o)

        • It IS a true 2.8 lens, there are no deceptions there, no lies from the manufacturers.

          BUT, a 2.8 lens on each format doesn’t actually mean they all let in the same amount of light. A 2.8 lens on m4/3 only let’s in a quarter of the light as a 2.8 lens on FF for instance. All the calculation to determine exposure (Aperture, shutter, ISO) remain the same, but the total amount of light captured is very different.

          I think when the original poster said it is like an f/7.6 on the long end, he may have been referring to what the FF equivalent would be for total light gathered (Or maybe he was just referring to the depth of field, who knows). The total light gathered per square millimetre to the sensor would indeed be the same as a FF’s 2.8, but the overall total light gather would be equal to if a full frame lens was stopped down to f/7.6. It would have 2.72x less TOTAL LIGHT brought through the lens to the sensor as compared to FF.

          It’s a bit confusing yes, but the fact is, it’s still a true f/1.8-2.8 lens, because an f-number is the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. Since the focal length number is smaller on crop sensors to achieve the same FOV, the calculation of the f/ numbers are correct. No tricks, the F-stops of this lens are true to what they say.

          • Sorry, but that’s nonsense.

            A 2.8 lens of a given focal length lets in the same amount of light, period.
            (Minor exceptions- numbers of lens elements, lens coatings, etc may lead to some loss of transmission).

            Way before you were born anyone could take an external light meter, plug in the film speed, and dial out the proper exposure for lens aperture (eg, 2.8) and shutter speed.

            For a given film speed (ISO), they could apply the exact same shutter speed and 2.8 opening on a 35mm camera, a medium format, and even a large format… knowing the exposure for all of them will be exactly the same.

            Why? because 2.8 is 2.8. The exact same amount of light passes through.

          • Sorry Ronin you are confusing total light per square unit of area with the total light captured. Since you referenced film let me explain in the same terms.

            You are correct that the shutter speed and aperture would be the same if you used the same ISO film for each format regardless of format. The ISO of film you use is determined by how sensitive it is to the amount of light it receives per square unit of size, which is the same regardless of format. In the end though, if you had a film the size of a Medium Format sensor, and a film the size of 35mm, the Medium format film would have received 1.6x the amount of light photons overall compared to the 35mm film when using the same Aperture and Shutter, yet it would also receive the exact same amount of light per square unit of area.

            To help visualise it all in a completely different way, just compare the size of the hole opening of a f/1.4 M/43 lens to the size of the hole opening on a full frame f/1.4 lens and ask yourself what opening do you think lets in more light. Each opening has the same goal of achieving letting light in at the same brightness to the sensor per square unit of area, yet one has a much larger sensor to project on to so therefore has to let in more light.

            Make sense now?

            How about another analogy. Say you wanted to use a M4/3 lens on a FF camera. You couldn’t because it would only project on 1/4 of the sensor. The only way to do it, would be to change the projection so it covers the whole frame (by changing the distance to the sensor). By projecting the same amount of light over a larger area the light would be a quarter of the brightness to the sensor.

            The same can be said in reverse and can be seen in products like Speedbooster, in which a full frame lens attached to a smaller sensor body receives more light.

            All good?

          • Hi, Ronin. +1.

            I believe the equivalency graphs in dpr, and possibly reiterated elsewhere, are the cause of this confusion by trying to be too technical when, IMHO, the argument becomes abstruse, particularly when trying to relate total light energy captured by a sensor and the level of illumination at the surface of each pixel, (and which are too different things) + focal length and sensor size.

            To my mind, it is like an answer waiting for a problem.

            As you, and others know, for exposure purposes, any particular f stop is a constant that applies to any focal length lens and irrespective of which format the lens is used on, be it film or digital sensor. This means that irrespective of the recording medium, the level of illumination at the film/sensor plane will be the same, and hence identical exposure readings. Naturally, DoF will vary depending upon focal length, and other considerations. But come what may f2.8 is always f2.8 for exposure purposes. The very point you make.

            But, confusingly, the total amount of light energy passing through lenses of different focal lengths, albeit with each set at, say f2.8, is different simply because each f2.8 aperture is not the same physical diameter. The wider it is, the more light energy passes through it. But we know, it isn’t simply a guess, that exposures will be the same, allowing for any T losses.

            Why should this be so? Well, it is the Inverse Square Law, and which simply put states that the level of illumination falls in direct proportion to the square of the distance a subject is moved from a radiating light source. Increase the focal length, the light has further to travel and thus by the time it reaches the film/sensor, it will be at roughly the same level of intensity (illumination) as with any other focal length.

            Apart from focal length equivalents, which are very necessary, I’ll leave the other equivalency arguments to those who find it practically of some use. I can’t see myself basing a camera purchase on something for which I, personally, see no use.

        • The thing is that both Steve and Tony Northrup are correct, just from a different point of view. And that’s why these equivalence discussions on the internet are never ending.

          It is easy to do a focal length equivalence because you just multiply by the crop factor. Same story for depth-of-field equivalence.

          However, if you try to calculate light-gathering equivalence, it depends if you calculate equivalence per “unit of sensor area” (e.g. Steve Huff) or if you calculate equivalence for the “entire sensor area combined” (e.g. Tony Northrup).

          The latter seems to align better with real-word usage, which is why I’m surprised to see Steve advocate the first.

          Neither are 100% accurate though because the unit of light gathering is T-stop (not f-stop), and because not all sensors are equally efficient (e.g. BSI, bayer layer, smaller circuits, different pixel pitch… all influence the light gathering efficiency).

          The most accurate approximation for light gathering would be to take the lens transmission and the sensor ISO ratings from DxO and do a T-stop equivalence.

          • “The most accurate approximation for light gathering would be to take the lens transmission and the sensor ISO ratings from DxO and do a T-stop equivalence.”

            I like it! This makes the most sense for sure and would be the best way to compare properly. Once this proper equivalence is done it would be so clear that lenses on larger formats let in way more total light even when they have the same f-stop as smaller formats, therefore making them the choice for low light work (but everyone already knows that).

            F/1.8 on a CX camera is a great thing though because the sensor needs all the help it can get. This camera looks to be a great pocket point and shoot. (My choice is the Ricoh GR)

      • I find it easier to think of it like this: The density of light hitting the cropped sensor is the same as the density of light hitting the full frame sensor. It is this density of light that determines our exposure. I like to use the term “density” because the total amount of light hitting the cropped sensor is indeed less because of the smaller aperture/iris diameter.

        The cropped sensor with smaller lens but same f-stop changes our angle of view and depth of field but not the exposure, so we can shoot at the same shutter speed and ISO (which means the compact camera should be just as good optically in low-light situations), but the background blur and subject magnification will appear differently.

        To say that this lens is f/2.8 at 70 mm is not only incorrect mathematically (because the aperture is not open to a diameter of 70/2.8 mm), it is confusing. It is less confusing to say that this lens focuses the same amount of light per sensor area as a full frame sensor at 70 mm with an f/2.8 lens mounted.

        This is the same thing Steve is saying, that the light gathering ability or the “speed” of the lens is the same, and crop factor only affects the depth of field and angle of view, not exposure. I think it is this density vs total light concept that confuses people. At least it did me.

        To Tony Northrup’s credit, he did say that exposure is not affected, just too late in the video. He should have made this point right up front to reduce confusion, IMO.

        • David,

          For him to say exposure is not affected simply disproves his argument that the lens he was considering could not be an f5.6 as he tried to argue. More befuddlement and poor application.

          The exposure density issue you raise is easily explainable. If you place a card and which is first marked off and divided into 4 equal segments and illuminate this evenly all over, the total number of photons the card receives will be 4 times that received by one segment. But, importantly, the 1/4 fewer photons received by the one segment are captured over 1/4 of the surface area, so the illumination will be the same.

          This can be seen with the naked eye, and it won’t require the use of a lux meter.

  22. A great update for the RX100 series! Very tempting as well 🙂 Although of concern is the missing hotshoe! At least for me. Can’t find any documentation if the pop-up flash can trigger other flashes wireless?

    • As long as your flash has optical slave capability, any camera with a flash can trigger it. Ronald, your plan on doing off-camera flash with a pocket camera?

  23. The original was and still is a very good camera. The improvements look promising as long it does not add anymore bulk to the camera. Remember it should fit in you pocket 🙂

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